Legality of war on Iraq

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by MrPVRd, Feb 23, 2005.

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  1. Channel 4 News have run a story similar to the Guardian's lead item today:


    Channel 4 went further with a leaked document from the Butler Inquiry which indicated that the Attorney General had not altered his formal legal advice of 7 Mar 03 which stated that a new resolution was necessary; he had merely written a short statement outlining a new view on 17 Mar 03. It is claimed that No 10 actually wrote the short statement of 17 Mar 03.

    It is necessary to be careful on this forum as Service personnel (former, regular and reservist) launching into (perhaps self serving) public tirades causes damage to both the uniform and the very reasonable case for disbelieving the case presented for military action, as a certain ex-TA soldier demonstrated. There are also many UK military personnel in theatre. Nevertheless this is an important issue that should be raised and discussed.

    It is incumbent on the government to release the full legal advice, otherwise they will encounter major problems in trying to mobilise support for any future military action. Whether this is accompanied by resignations would be a matter for the ministers involved, but this would seem inevitable.
  2. msr

    msr LE

    Given the current government's obsession with 'public opinion', one can't help feeling that had the advice been unequivocal, it would have been 'leaked' in a suitable and pre-emptory fashion.

  3. So we have committed 'A War of Agression' and now junior Toms are found guilty of acts of "terror"
    Don't hang the poor Tom but string up the Man who ordered it all.
  4. The key question that should be asked by all and sundry in uniform, from the C4 News item and the Newsnight item last night and the Guardian article is:

    Given that TB was unwilling to show the cabinet the full document (7 Mar 03) for fear that he could not trust his cabinet, [trust them not to leak it? or to vote for war in cabinet?] is whether the 7 Mar document or the parliamentary answer was shown to the CDS.

    Several other questions then arise regarding precedent and or which particular element of International Law was used by CDS and his Legal team to determine that the operation was legal.

    The general constitutional question that arises is:

    If the cabinet did not see the 7 Mar document, as would now seem to the case, has the collective responsibility been taken away from the cabinet and does sole responsibility rests with the PM only?

    Drawing this to a logical conclusion, if the 7 Mar document is extant as the full legal opinion of the HMG, when is someone going to take MHG to the ICC? Then if found guilty does the PM resign or should the whole government resign? In addition the PM technically should resign along with Lord Goldsmith because under oath (if this evidence to the Butler enquiry is accurate) both have breached the ministerial code of conduct.

    I see no reason at a political level why the PM is in power. Since parliament did not have oversight of the 7 Mar document; whether they voted for war is irrelevant, since they made an informed opinion based on only partial information. The reason they did not have access was a decision made by the PM.

    All in all surely it is time for proper constitution, so the weasel politicians do not pull stunts like this in future. Remember Mrs T at the end of the Falkland conflict? She was relived that the OP was a success as she knew resignation for her and cabinet was the option in the event of anything but total victory.